I have a number of eBooks on my iPad but only one chess book “Chess History & Reminiscences” by H.E.Bird.

Henry Edward Bird had a impressive CV.  He played in the first International Chess Tournament (London 1851) as well as most of the other great tournaments of the 19th Century such as Vienna 1873, Hastings 1895 and London 1899.  He even play a short match against Paul Morphy (“The Pride & Sorrow of Chess”) plus games against World Champions Anderssen, Steinitz and Lasker.

In Bird’s time the aim was not so much to win your game but rather to create a brilliant sacrificial attack which would then bring credit on you and perhaps end up as a famous chess masterpiece.

In today’s puzzle Bird is playing White against the World Champion, Steinitz, in 1867 and he is well on the way to creating a famous chess game.  Steinitz has to choose between 17…Kf8 which allows mate in 1; 17…Re7 which allows mate in 1; 17…Be7 which allows a very pretty mate in 2 (as in the game) or 17…Qe7 which allows mate in 6.

Your puzzle today is to find the mate in 6 moves after 17…Qe7.

[fen caption=”After 17…Qe7 find mate in 6 moves”]1rbqk3/p1pp1rpQ/1p3P2/1Bb5/8/8/PPP3PP/nNB1R2K b – – 1 17[/fen]


The mate is 17…Qe7 18.Qg8+ Rf8 19.Rxe7+ Bxe7 20.f7+ Kd8 21.Qxf8+ Bxf8 22.Bg5+ Be7 23.f8=R #

Of course the actual finish of 17…Be7 18.Qg8+ Rf8 19.f7# is much prettier and allowed Bird to achieve his chess “immortality.”

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